Yesterday after exercise class several of us chatted over coffee at a local watering hole. Its ambiance is homey, charming. Mis-matched furnishings fill a small space…tables, chairs, benches and sofas. The same could be said of the clientele…singles hunched over their lap-tops…couples huddled in corners…friends, like us, conversing and laughing…and then there’s the playgroups. They can range from a pair of moms with their toddlers, or like yesterday…a full-blown preschool’s worth of young ‘uns.
Within close proximity to the toddlers roundup, our group of middle-aged women got a little prickly at times with the noise and commotion surrounding us. We couldn’t hear ourselves talk, or think for that matter, above the shrieks and crashing of chairs on the floor. It didn’t help that the moms were too busy chatting with one another to intercept.
Upon exiting the coffee house I mentioned to Kristina, friend and exercise instructor, what some of us had thought the owner might do to accommodate the needs of his customers. If he rented the vacant shop next door, he could have the adults fraternize in relative serenity in the old space, while moms and their children could happily spread out in the newer digs.
Without pause Kristina replied “We don’t really want to separate ourselves from other age groups. We need to comingle with them to keep ourselves from becoming old and crotchety.” She mayn’t have said those exact words, but I quickly got the drift…and wholeheartedly agreed. In fact I think she said it’s best not to cart ourselves off to retirement communities when we grow old.
It’s not the first time I’ve heard say living in mixed neighborhoods is preferrable to homogenous ones, where everyone is of similar age and lifestyle. The young energize the old; the old share their wisdom born out of many more years of life experiences.
…the fountain of youth lies within…with a little help from without…
I live in an intergenerational neighborhood and really enjoy it. Some folks wish the youngsters would be quiet, but I think it would be really boring if they weren’t around. A huge thank you to parents who expect their children to behave when they’re at a restaurant. It’s a great skill to develop and it makes dining out a real pleasure.
When our daughter was a baby, my husband and I would cart her along in a carrier and place her beside one of us on a bench seat in a family style restaurant. She became accustome to sleeping through noises…people talking, waiters serving food, music playing. As she grew older, we reiterated table manners and behavior in public places. Of course she was already learning to mind her p’s and q’s at home.
Guiding youngsters as to socially accepted behavior from the get-go saves them…and us…the frustration of knowing their boundaries. I think we are more content when we know the parameters in which we should conduct ourselves. We can feel better about ourselves knowing we are part of the community. I think it’s when people feel like outcasts that they often assert themselves violently…to gain society’s attention. If they can’t join us…then they’re going to make sure we know who they were…before they exit this world.
My husband and I also live in a neighborhood of mixed ages. However more young families are moving in, buying the homes of retirees who are downsizing. We’d like to remain, so we’re trying to make changes to accommodate our old-age needs. I’m with you…children playing, folks walking their dogs, neighbors visiting back and forth. A vibrant life… 🙂
I do not understand making why parents can’t make a child behave in a public place. If they can’t then take them home!!!!!!!!! I had to learn to make mine behave and they did. I depise going out somewhere and having to listen to a screaming, crying (out of control crying), crazy acting, fit throwing child. Not too many people want to eat next to that. Or shop next to that. I love kids. I love to play with them but it seems nowadays most parents don’t know when enough is enough and they need to go home. And that they need to discipline and teach their kids how to behave.
I agree with you. But there’s nothing we can do about other peoples’ children in public…short of getting into a heated confrontation. That doesn’t really solve anything. It just ramps up the noise to a whole other level…people saying things that children shouldn’t hear…let alone other adults trying to enjoy the heretofore…peace and quiet.
My biggest concern, however, is what all the excitement does to you and me…raises our blood pressure…exacerbates our fibromyalgia because of all the stiffening and tensing our bodies are experiencing. And the stress…in the moment and afterwards…doesn’t help my trying to halt the onset of Alzheimer’s. Stress contributes to disease. Better to walk away from things over which you’ve no control…
and relish those over which you do…a long, happy life…with loved ones. hugs… 🙂
OK, I will hold my tongue and smile the next time I sit beside a screaming toddler… Oh you make things hard when you tell the truth
Just as hard for me. But the alternative to coexisting…cranky old codger…is totally not appealing to me. I’ve met a few of those, and I stay the heck away…or try to, anyway. 😉
I give credit to my friend, Kristina. I need a nudge in the right direction…every now and then. I’m made of human flesh and bones…especially as I get older. Only when I get my wings will I need no more nudging. I hope God’s listening… 😉